Luke 17:5–10, Increase our faith. As if often the case, Yeshua’s answer to the disciples’ request to increase their faith is a bit enigmatic. Let us explore the connection between faithfulness and miracles of faith.
In this passage of Scripture, Yeshua answers his disciples’ request by making the terse statement that a small amount of faith produces great, even miraculous, results, and then he launches into a discussion about faithful attendance to duty, and ends the discussion there. What do these seemingly discordant statements have to do with each other? The implication is that faith comes as a result of being faithful, that is, by being a faithful doer of the master’s will.
Let us dig deeper and demystify the connection between faith and faithfulness. Consider this. What is the relationship between faith and faithfulness? When one is faithful to his master’s will and is faithfully executing his responsibilities, what happens? By immersing oneself in the will of his master with one’s whole heart, one will be totally in tune with the master. He will know the heart, mind and will of his master. He will know the desires of the master, how the master thinks and what the master wants him to do, and what the master wants him to do next. On this basis and from this spiritual launch pad, the servant can extend his faith and predict the will of the master—what the master wants him to do next, and then the servant can step out in faith and accomplish it, even if it requires a miracle to do so.
As an example of the connection between faith and faithfulness, let’s consider Yeshua’s command to his disciples to preach the gospel to all nations. Referred to as “The Great Commission,” Yeshua promised that certain miraculous signs and wonders would follow his disciples when they faithfully fulfill this command (Mark 16:15–18). One often hears Christians wondering why signs and wonder why they do see many miraculous signs and wonders happening today. Maybe it is because they are not being faithful to the Master’s command to preach the gospel to the whole world or at least to boldly sharing the gospel with those around them. The preaching of the gospel is just one example of miracles of faith following obedience.
An example of stepping out in faith from the launch pad of faithfulness based on fulfilling the Master’s will is Yeshua the Master’s will for his redeemed believers to expand the kingdom of heaven by sharing the gospel with others. Sharing the gospel with others goes hand-in-hand with the Master’s will to reverse the effects of the kingdom of darkness by healing the sick and casting demons out of oppressed people (Mark 16:15–18). In this manner, kingdom of heaven is expanded one life at a time as per the heart and will of Yeshua. The preacher of the gospel should understand this correlation between faithfulness and miraculous faith, which is why after sharing the gospel with others, one can expect to heal the sick and cast demons out of the oppressed.
It is really that simple; it is a matter of cause and effect. Faithfulness leads to faith resulting in miracles.
Hebrews 5:2, Ignorant and going astray.Or ignorantly erring.
Hebrews 5:6, Order of Melchizedek.Or King of Righteousness. This is the original priesthood that YHVH established to represent him on the earth and to teach humans his ways. This was a patriarchal priesthood where the heads of families or tribes passed down YHVH’s Truth to their children. This priesthood was temporarily replaced by the Levitical priesthood which was established after the golden calf incident when the tribal leaders failed to prevent their families from turning away from YHVH for idolatry. When Yeshua established the apostolic church and with the destruction of the Second Temple along with the priesthood, the Levitical system ended. The apostolic writers reveal that the priesthood belongs to the saints, who are to become kings and priests, a kingdom of priests or a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). It appears that both the Melchizedek and Levitical priesthoods will be operating contemporaneously for a while during the Millennium (Isa 66:21). The saints will be ruling and reigning under Yeshua the King of kings-High Priest co-reigning with him in his eternal kingdom, which will be universally established with the advent of his millennial reign after his second coming. It was always YHVH’s will for his saints to become a kingdom of priests to evangelize the world (Exod 19:6), but the Israelites failed in this endeavor.
Hebrews 5:9, Having been perfected.This verse begs a question: How could Yeshua be perfected when he was already perfect? To understand the meaning of this phrase, one has to look into the meaning of words. A word may mean one thing in one language and something completely different in another language. In English, the primary meaning of the word perfect is “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be; free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless.” By contrasts, in biblical Greek, the word perfect is teleioō meaning “to complete, that is, (literally) accomplish, or (figuratively) consummate (in character).” As it is plain to see, between the English and the Greek, the word perfect has two completely different meanings. Yes, Yeshua was perfect, sinless and without any spiritual defect or fault, yet in his humanity, he learned what it was like to struggle against and to overcome the world, the flesh and devil and the temptations to sin. This experience allows him to be the saints’ perfect Great High Priest advocate or defense attorney in the court of heaven before or at the right hand of the throne or judgment seat of YHVH Elohim.
Hebrews 5:11, Dull of hearing.This seems to be perennial problem among the saints and is akin to “a famine of the hearing of the word of Elohim” (Amos 8:11 cp. Isa 29:13)
Hebrews 6:1, Elementary principles of Messiah.What follows are the six principal doctrines of the redeemed believer, yet they are all subsets of faith in Messiah Yeshua, which is foundations upon which it all rests.
Repentance from dead works.True biblical repentance involves turning from a lifestyle of Torahless and lining all aspects of our lives up with the Torah-Word of Elohim.
Hebrews 6:2, Doctrine of baptisms. (Also see notes at Matt 28:19.)
Laying on of hands. Ordination is something that YHVH instituted in the Torah when he charged Moses to impose hands upon the Levites, and instructed all Israel to do the same (Num 29:10). We also have the example of Moses anointing with oil Aaron (Exod 29:10). Of course, kings of Israel were also anointed with oil to consecrate them for their official duties by the laying on hands.
Laying on of hands/ordination was earth’s confirmation of a heavenly calling. Elohim had already called someone into ministry and men were simply confirming what Elohim had already determined. Ordination doesn’t confirm the calling, but the other way around.
In the Testimony of Yeshua, by lot, the 11 apostles chose Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1). This was heaven’s choice, yet no mention of ordination is recorded. After that, we have the choosing of the seven in Acts 6:1. These were men who were already full of the Spirit and wisdom, so the apostles simply confirmed the work of the Spirit in them by laying hands on them (verse 6).
The same is true in the other examples of ordination in the Apostolic Scriptures. Men would be mentored by a leader/apostle, and after a period of time (“lay hands on no one suddenly” 2 Tim 5:22)—much like the five years of mentoring that occurred with a priest in training in the Torah (from age 25 to 30), and after meeting the qualifications of eldership (see 1 Tim 3:1–12 and Tit 1:5-9) they were appointed. Of course, those who were the mentors had oversight over those they mentored. It was less of a authoritatively-hierarchical system and more of patriarchal system with the older men lovingly overseeing those they had raised up — and only exercising strict authority when needed, which occurred only rarely.
Of course, there was no such thing as licensing or even denominations which issue licenses in the Apostolic Scriptures. To me, that seems more like a man-made thing for the purposes of maintaining power, control and keeping the money flowing upward.
In the entire Bible, there are no examples of or precedence for women being ordained. Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:22 “to lay hands suddenly on no man.” He is gender specific. Women did, however, minister in conjunction with their husbands — their spiritual heads, which is something Paul is very clear about in Ephesians 5:21–24. Even though in the body of Yeshua there is neither male nor female so that all are equal before Yeshua, when it comes to governance in the congregation, the Bible upholds male leadership. Now that doesn’t mean that women can’t hold high positions of authority, but always in conjunctions with their husbands. We have the example of the apostolic team of Andronicus (husband) and Junia (wife) whom Paul called apostles (Rom 16:7), Aquila and Priscilla who were co-laborers. Sometimes Priscilla’s name is mentioned first. Obviously, this husband and wife team were such a tight unit that it didn’t matter whose name was mentioned first. Of course, we have examples in the Scriptures of women prophets. Deborah, though she was a judge in Israel, seems to have been married to Barak the military general. If so, we have an apostolic-prophetic team operating together to lead the Israelite nation. Huldah was a prophetess who seemed to operate without male headship, though she hung out with other prophets in a “school” or neighborhood where the prophets lived. So there was must have been some accountability between her and the other prophets, although she was the most gifted of YHVH since hers is the only name mentioned. Then we have the daughters of Philip the evangelist who were prophetesses—again, presumably under the spiritual leadership of their father (Acts 21:8-9).
Hebrews 6:6, If they fall away, to renew.
Is the “Once Saved Always Saved Doctrine” Biblical?
Isaiah 61:10,He has clothed me with garments of salvation … robes of righteousness.The Hebrew word for salvation is Yesha (Strong’s H3468), which forms the root for the word yeshua meaning “salvation,” which, of course is the derivation of the Messiah’s personal name, Yeshua. How does Scripture define the word righteousness? (For the brief answer, reference Ps 119:172.) We see in this verse an interplay between the concepts of being clothed in Messiah’s salvation and works of righteousness, which is Torah obedience. Now relate these two concepts to Ephesians 2:8–9, which describes how we are saved spiritually, and then to Ephesians 2:10, which describes the proof of our salvation.
Now let’s take the next step in our line of logic by turning to Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 to discover what are the identifying marks of the end-time saints. Now relate this to the robes of righteousness the bride of Yeshua will be wearing in Revelation 19:7–9 with special emphasis on verse 8. The KJV reads, “for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints,” while both the NIV and NAS read “righteous acts” for “righteousness.” What are the righteous acts of the saints? (Again read Ps 119:172 along with John 14:15 and 1 John 2:3–6. Now read 2 Pet 3:14; Eph 5:27; Heb 12:14; Matt 5:48 and John 12:48.) As a famous radio personality of our time likes to say, “Now go and do the right thing!”
Isaiah 62:2,The Gentiles shall see your righteousness. Compare this verse with Isaiah 60:1–3. How will the heathens see your righteousness if you dress, act, speak, live like a heathen and follow the heathen religious customs and doctrines that have made their way into the church system? Remember (from the comments on Isaiah 61:10 above) how Scripture defines righteousness?
Isaiah 62:6,I have set watchmen upon your wall.Who are these watchmen? (Read Isa 21:6, 11, 12; Ezek 3:17; 33:2, 6, 7; Hos 9:8.) What is the current state of many of the spiritual watchmen? (Read Isaiah 56:9–12 compared to John 10:7–13.) Other than guarding the sheep, what are the watchmen to be doing? Read Jeremiah 6:16–19 where we learn that they are to be turning YHVH’s people back to the ancient paths of YHVH’s instructions and precepts in righteousness—the Torah.
Isaiah 62:10,Lift up a standard.The Hebrew word for standard is nec, pronounced nace (Strong’s H5251/TWOT 1379a) meaning “signal pole, banner, ensign, sign or sail.” According to The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, nec generally refers to “a rallying point or standard, which drew people together for some common action or for the communication of important information.” A standard, banner or flag is usually placed at a high or conspicuous place within the camp or community. There, a signal pole, sometimes with a flag attached, would be raised as a point of focus or object of hope. In Exodus 17:15, we discover that one of YHVH’s covenant names is YHVH-Nissi or YHVH My Banner. Isaiah prophetically declares that Yeshua, the Root of Jesse, would be “an ensign to the nations” (Isa 11:10) signifying the lifting up of Israel’s messianic king around whom all men would gather (TWOT, vol. 2, p. 583). In Isaiah 62:10–12, the prophet declares that a standard will be lifted up over the nations for the daughter of Zion (the land of Israel) signalling their return to Israel from the nations among which they have been scattered. What makes this end-time remnant of Israel holy (set-apart) and redeemed? What is this standard or rallying point that YHVH will lift up over the nations causing them to return to their land and spiritual roots? How is this being fulfilled today among YHVH’s people? Who is that banner? The answer to this question can be found in some of the neighboring verses:
Verse 8, Who is “the arm of his strength” (see Isa 53:1).
Verse 10, Who is the One who is likened to a gate that people are to go through? (See Ps 24:9; John 10:7, 9.)
Verse 10, Who is “the way for the people? (See John 14:6.)
Verse 10, Who is like a banner that literally gets lifted up causing eyes to look at him? (See John 3:14.)
Verse 11, Who is the salvation that Isaiah prophesied was coming? To answer this question, what is the Hebrew word for “he will save” and “salvation”? To find the answer, if you have a Strong’s Concordance, look up H3442 and H3444. (Hint: it’s the Hebrew word for Jesus.)
Verse 11, Who is the One coming who is bringing rewards with him? Rewards for both the righteous and the wicked?
Isaiah 63:1–6,Comes from Edom. Who is Edom? Both Christian and Jewish Bible commentators see this passage referring to YHVH avenging Israel for Edom’s perpetual hatred and persecution of Israel. The Jews relate Edom not only to the literal descendants of Esau, but see Edom as a metaphor for all those who have persecuted the Israelites down through the ages including the Babylonians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, and even the Germans. (Relate this passage to the parallel passages in Rev 14:14–20.) Even as Esau and his small army stood blocking the way of Jacob’s return to the Promised Land in Genesis 32, so Edom will attempt to prevent Jacob’s descendants from doing the same in the end days. How is this being fulfilled in the land of Israel today? Who is attempting to thwart Israel’s every attempt to re-establish itself in its homeland today? Isaiah 63 shows us how YHVH will eventually deal with Edom for their antagonism against YHVH’s people. Other Scriptures that deal with Edom’s demise and punishment at YHVH’s hands because of their perpetual hatred for Israel include Jeremiah 49:7–22; Ezekiel 25:12–14; 35 (entire chapter); 36:5 (where Idumea is another reference to Edom) Joel 3:19; Amos 1:6, 9, 11; 2:1; the entire Book of Obadiah, and Malachi 1:4.
Isaiah 63:9,The angel of his presence saved them. This is another one of those short prophetic passages that could be easily passed over, but which is significant. The word angel is malak (Strong’s H4397) meaning “messenger” or “representative” and can refer to both an earthly or human messenger, as well and a heavenly or divine/supernatural messenger. With regard to the latter, Scripture reveals that some are angelic messengers (e.g., Gen 19:1; Pss 91:11; 103:20), as well as a singular divine messenger who comes in the name of Elohim, from the Presence of Elohim acting as Elohim, and revealing himself to be Eohim, while presenting himself in humanesque form (e.g., Gen 22:11; 31:11; 48:16; Exod 3:2; 23:20, 23; etc.) The word presence in Isaiah 63:9 is panyim (Strong’s H6440) meaning “face.” To whom is this a reference? Compare Genesis 32:30 (Peniel means face of El/God) with Hosea 12:3–4. Most Christian Bible commentators see this messenger as a preincarnate appearance of Yeshua, which in theological terms is referred to as a theophany, or more specifically, a Christophany. In Isaiah 63:9, what does this Messenger from YHVH’s Presence or face of Elohim do for Israel? Discuss the concepts of salvation and redemption relating this to the work of Yeshua the Messiah as revealed in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament).
Exodus 14:22,The children of Israel went. According to Jewish tradition (e.g. in TheArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash commentary on verse eight), the crossing occurred on Nisan 21 (or the Month of the Abib, which is the first month of the biblical calendar occurring in the early spring), which is the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, even though the Scriptures don’t explicitly say this. The Jewish sages deduce this from the chronology of events leading up to the crossing. On the fifteenth day of the first month, they reason, Israel left Egypt and traveled from Rameses to Succoth. On the sixteenth day, they traveled from Succoth to Etham, and on the seventeenth from Etham to Pi-hahiroth. Then on the eighteenth it was reported to Pharaoh that Israel had been gone for three days. On the 19th and 20th Pharaoh mustered his army and pursued Israel, and on the twenty-first day of the first month Israel crossed the Red Sea, which was the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The Red Sea. The Israelites went through the midst of the Red Sea. Like the killing of the Passover lamb and the painting of his blood on the door posts, the crossing of the Red Sea prophetically pointed forward to the message of the gospel and the steps a disciple of Yeshua must take in his spiritual journey. Paul states in his letter to the believers in Corinth,
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Messiah. (1 Cor 10:1–4)
The Israelites going through the Red Sea is a prophetic picture of baptism for the remission of sin of the new believer. Red reminds us of the blood of Yeshua that cleanses sinners of sin. Moreover, sea water is salty and salt is a biblical symbol representing cleansing, purification, preservation and eternity and all of which point to the efficaciousness of Yeshua’s atoning blood on behalf of the redeemed saint.
Now let’s look at Israel’s Red Sea passage in light of its larger gospel message context. While back in Egypt, YHVH sent Moses the evangelist to the Israelites with the message of redemption from their Egyptian slavemasters. To be spared from Eloim’s judgments against sin, all the Israelites had to do was to believe the evangelist (i.e. the preacher of the gospel message) when he told them to kill a lamb and to put its blood on the doorposts of their houses (i.e. have faith in the shed blood of Yeshua the Messiah who died on the cross to set us free from the penalty of our sins). Those who did were spared Elohim’s judgment against sin. Next, they had to put leaven (i.e. a picture of sin) out of their houses (a picture of their lives), eat unleavened bread (i.e. a picture of accepting Yeshua unconditionally) and leave Egypt (i.e. a picture of leaving behind the world’s ways and lifestyles). After that they went through the Red Sea (i.e. a picture of baptism for the remission of sins). These are but the initial steps that the Israelites had to take on their journey to the “Promised Land.” After that, they came to Marah, then to the desert oasis of Elim, then they received manna from heaven and water from the rock. They learned about sin, redemption, the Messiah, how to have faith in Elohim, and how to overcome the triple headed enemy of the world, the flesh and the devil.
For those readers who can discern the code, the gospel message is encrypted in the steps that the Israelites’ took while traversing the wilderness (a biblical metaphor for our physical life on earth) en route the Promised Land. What they went through, how they reacted and the consequences of their actions can act as a sort of spiritual road map to aid modern saints in guiding us forward in our own spiritual journey toward inclusion in the kingdom of Elohim as his glorified children. The wise saint will learn from both the mistakes and triumphs of the Israelites. So study the Bible to show yourself approved, learn your lessons well and we’ll see you in the kingdom of Elohim.
Luke 12:5, Killed…cast into hell [Gehenna]. There are two deaths: a physical and a spiritual death. All humans will die a physical death (Heb 9:27), but not everyone will die a second or spiritual death. This death is reserved for the unregenerate wicked and is called the lake of fire (Rev 20:12–15). The Hinnom Valley (Gr. Gehenna) on the west side of Jerusalem was a Hebrew metaphor for the fate of the wicked. The Jews used this valley as a refuse dump, and it was there that the bodies of dead animals and criminals were burned. Literally, at the white throne judgment after having judged the unregenerate wicked, YHVH will cast them into his spiritual garbage dump to be burned up (Rev 20:11–15).